Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Food for thought

On forums like The High Road, there is a thread that comes up every so often. It's the "How do you know if those guys breaking in your door at 3 AM are cops or not, and what should you do?" thread. It's always the subject of hot debate, and frequently ends up locked by the mods.

Well, this story doesn't make it any easier to arrive at a conclusion:

A Jackson father said his son was shot after three men kicked in their front door carrying shotguns and a pistol Saturday night.

The incident happened at about 9 p.m.The man, who doesn't want to be identified, said the men yelled, "ATF," as they stormed the home on Marble Street.

ATF likely stands for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


Now I'm not about to join the "Kill them all; God knows his own" crowd. My logic works this out thusly:

If you're house is being entered by a well-trained SWAT team, you likely won't get a chance to arm yourself, unless you've hardened it far more than Joe Average normally takes the effort to do. At 4 AM, they'll swarm in several doors and windows at once, yelling to wake the dead (and given recent trends, shooting your dogs--Google it if you'd like), and you'll be sitting there in bed, and what's in your hand will probably not be your gun. If it is, you will likely die.

If they're not a well-trained SWAT team or if you've hardened the entrances to your home, the results are more problematic, especially if you take the above example to heart, and decide that anyone entering your home by force needs to be resisted with deadly force. You may be able to arm yourself and make a fight of it, and you might get one or two. You will likely die in the process. Even if you realize that they are cops, I sort of doubt that you're going to get much chance to lay down arms. They're going to be so busy trying to kill you they probably won't even recognize you're trying to surrender. If you're fortunate, they'll figure it out after you're dead. If it's a mistake (wrong house), perhaps your survivors will receive a nice settlement.

If it's the bad guys (as above), and you either carry at home by habit (few do), or you keep a gun to hand while at home (some do), and especially if you've hardened those entrances (as you ought to do), then it's a different ballgame. They'll likely attack at a much earlier hour, when you are awake. Hopefully you can recognize from their attire (and lack of good dynamic entry technique) that these aren't cops, and take effective action.

Unlike the man above, who's son was shot. At last report, his condition was unknown.

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